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Discussion Points in Geneva Talks With PM-Gulf-Talks, Bjt

August 25, 1988

GENEVA (AP) _ Here, at a glance, are the main issues to be discussed in the Iran-Iraq cease-fire talks opening today:


The U.N. Security Council’s cease-fire Resolution 598 urges that the POWs ″be released and repatriated without delay after the cessation of active hostilities″ in accordance with the Geneva conventions.

U.N. Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar, who sent a special mission to the two countries to inquire into the POW situation, says the actual figure is more than 80,000.

The all-Swiss International Committee of the Red Cross which supervises observance of the Geneva Conventions has registered 50,182 POWs in Iranian camps and 19,284 POWs in Iraqi camps.

Many of the POWs on both sides are expected to refuse repatriation because they have supported publicly the detaining power. The Red Cross, which is expected to organize the repatriation, says it will accept the mandate only if it has access to every prisoner to make sure he agrees to repatriation.


Resolution 598 envisions establishment of an ″impartial body″ to investigate the ″responsibility for the conflict.″ Iraq invaded Iran Sept. 22, 1980, after weeks of border skirmishes and Iran expects Iraq to be branded as the aggressor. Iraq says it acted after assassination attempts against its leaders by pro-Iranian extremists and Iranian calls for the overthrow of the Iraqi leadership.


Resolution 598 refers to the withdrawal of all forces ″to the internationall y recognized borders without delay.″ Iran holds that the 737- mile common border was delineated in a treaty concluded in 1975 between the two countries during the rule of Shah Reza Pahlavi.

In particular, that treaty granted Iran its long-sought claim to the eastern half of the 127-mile Shatt al-Arab, the confluence of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and Iraq’s only access to the open sea.

That waterway has been the subject of border disputes for centuries. Iraq unilaterally repudiated the 1975 treaty on Sept. 17, 1980, five days before its forces crossed into Iran.

President Saddam Hussein called the waterway ″totally Iraqi and totally Arab.″ On Sept. 23, 1980, Iraq announced three territorial conditions for ending the war - Iranian recognition of Iraqi claims to the entire waterway, to water rights to rivers flowing from Iran to Iraq, and to three Persian Gulf islands seized by Iran in 1971.


In 1985, Iran officially assessed the cost of its war damage as $350 billion and announced it would seek reparations. An Iranian newspaper earlier this month on estimated total losses due to the war at $600 billion. There has been no recent official claim by Tehran. Iraq has not issued an official assessment of war damages. Resolution 598, which calls for a ″comprehensive, just and honorable settlement,″ makes no direct reference to reparations.

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